"Dog Leaps as Children Play" : A Summer's Day in 1948

1st June 2013:

This article appeared in Issue No. 2 of  Age UK's "Life" Magazine



“Dog Leaps as Children Play” : A Summer’s Day at the Beach (1948) 



This photograph has always been a real talking point.  Taken on a family day out at Tynemouth Beach, it shows my Mam, Chrissie (in the white dress) and her older sister, my Aunty Peggy, with Sandy the dog.


Sandy was a stray who “adopted” my Mam just after the War.  He was a very intelligent dog as well as a bit of a show-off.   This particular afternoon his “beach aerobatics” were attracting a lot of attention and there was quite a little crowd watching him.  He was barking happily at my Mam and Aunty Peggy to keep throwing the ball for him – he was in his element!


After a while a man approached, saying he was a photographer from the Saturday paper, “The Illustrated”* and, impressed by Sandy’s antics, he wondered if he could take some photos for the paper. 


My Mam cautiously said she supposed it would be alright and asked what they should do.  She was told to “just carry on throwing the ball for the dog”.  So they did and Sandy continued to go through his repertoire of jumps, leaping high into the air, twisting and turning, playing to his new audience.  The man took a few photos, including a couple of just my Mam and Sandy (after Aunty Peggy declined to appear in any more pictures).  Then the man asked for my Mam’s name and address and said he would be in touch and send copies the photographs.



Watching all this from further down the beach were my Gran and the two younger sisters, my Aunty Vi and Aunty Flo.  By the time the photographer had finished, all three of them were falling over themselves to find out what had been going on.  “Who was that man?  What had he been saying?  Why was he taking photos?  AND WHY DID YOU GIVE HIM YOUR ADDRESS?”


Typically, my Mam shrugged and thought no more of the incident – until a couple of weeks later when the promised photos arrived, together with a copy of “The Illustrated”.  To everyone’s amazement, there on the front page – the front page! - was the photograph of my Mam, Aunty Peggy and Sandy – under the headline ‘Dog Leaps as Children Play’.  At last, Sandy was the star he’d always wanted to be.  As for my Mam and my Aunty …


Sixty years on, the photos taken that day have been restored as canvases and are in pride of place in my Mam’s flat.  And once again, they are a talking point.  When anyone asks about them, my sister and I gleefully explain not only how they came to be taken (and the story of Sandy the dog) but also that fact the “children” were both in their mid-twenties, both married – and my Aunty was (just) expecting my cousin, Susan.  “Children” indeed!

Back to the Diary Room